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Title: Richard III: His Life & Character Reviewed in the light of recent research

Author: Clements R. Markham

Release Date: June 17, 2011 [EBook #36451]

Language: English

*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK RICHARD III: HIS LIFE & CHARACTER ***

Produced by Al Haines

King Richard III. From a picture in the National Portrait Gallery RICHARD III: HIS LIFE

King Richard III. From a picture in the National Portrait Gallery

RICHARD III: HIS LIFE & CHARACTER

REVIEWED IN THE LIGHT OF RECENT RESEARCH

BY SIR CLEMENTS E. MARKHAM, K.C.B.

AUTHOR OF 'THE LIFE OF THE GREAT LORD FAIRFAX' AND 'THE FIGHTING VERES'

WITH A PORTRAIT

LONDON: SMITH, ELDER, AND CO. 15 WATERLOO PLACE. 1906

(All rights reserved)

PREFACE

There are periods of history when the greatest caution is called for in accepting statements put forward by a dominant faction. Very early in my life I came to the conclusion that the period which witnessed the change of dynasties from Plantagenet to Tudor was one of these. The caricature of the last Plantagenet King was too grotesque, and too grossly opposed to his character derived from official records. The stories were an outrage on common-sense. I studied the subject at intervals for many years, and in the course of my researches I found that I more or less shared my doubts with every author of repute who had studied the subject for the last three centuries, except Hume and Lingard. My own conclusions are that Richard III. must be acquitted on all the counts of the indictment. The present work is divided into two parts, the first narrating the events of his life and times, and the second examining the various accusations against him. I did not contemplate publication because I thought that in these days prejudices were too strong to make it possible that a fair and candid hearing should be given to the arguments. But I determined to consult some historical friends, and I was pleased to find that to a great extent I was mistaken.

In the first place, I wrote a full abstract of my arguments, for publication in the 'Historical Review,' acting under the advice of my old schoolfellow, Professor Freeman, to whom I sent it in the first instance. It so happened that Mr. Freeman had given attention to part of the subject. He upset some odious fabrications of the chroniclers affecting the character of Margaret of Anjou, by proving that she was in Scotland at the time when the battle of Wakefield was fought. Freeman seldom wrote on so late a period of our history, and we owe this modern excursion to a visit to Mr. Milnes Gaskell at Thornes.

After reading what I sent him, Professor Freeman wrote on August 13, 1890: 'Your abstract has set me a-thinking. It is only a Robert of Bellême who does that kind of thing. On your main point I will talk to Gardiner and Stubbs. Meanwhile, I have shown your manuscript to Sidney Owen, who read it and held it to be what lawyers would call considerable. Owen had been at those times, and holds Henry VII. to be at least capable of it.

'It would be a self-denying ordinance in Gairdner if he accepted your view, for he has gone more straight at that time than anybody else. Gardiner has written to him, and he is a little fierce, as was to be expected, but if you are like me, no man's fierceness will hinder you from dining and sleeping as well as usual. The matter is at all events worth discussing.'

Professor York Powell read my manuscript, and wrote: 'I have read the manuscript and think there is something worth looking into. Henry's conduct to Tyrrell is exceedingly suspicious. Either Richard or Henry might have put the boys to death, but it would be interesting for many reasons to know which it was. I am not convinced by Markham, but I do not think Gairdner has the right to be cocksure. The Morton suggestive idea is very ingenious and pretty, and quite probable. It has

interested me much to read Markham's letter, for I remember my difficulties in the matter and the point

I got to, that the great men did not, for a time, hold the now vulgate view of the murder of the princes. I should rejoice should Markham light upon additional evidence in favour of his thesis, which à priori is by no means unlikely. There is something about Richard's character, ability, and reign which,

I think, attracts every real student of history, and gives one a feeling that he has been unfairly dealt with.'

In 1891, the abstract of my work was published in the 'Historical Review,' and Bishop Creighton, who was then the editor, wrote: 'Thank you for your paper, which I have read with great interest. It certainly makes out a strong case.'

There were two rejoinders from Mr. Gairdner, which enabled me to recast and improve parts of my work by the light of his criticism.

I lost my adviser, Mr. Freeman, in 1892. One of the last things he did was to warn me of an objection taken by Miss Edith Thompson, which enabled me to meet it.[1]

After careful revision I showed my manuscript to the late Sir Archibald Milman, who had given close attention to those times. On December 27, 1897, he wrote: 'It is your bounden duty to tell your story of Richard III., giving the date for every fact. It is only by sticking to dates that you get at truth in criminal causes, and the same method must be followed at the bar of history. It would be a pleasure to think that the last Plantagenet was not a cruel scoundrel. By giving dates and authorities for them, you

render a great service. Richard's loyalty and able administration in the north seem inconsistent with such ferocity. I was much interested in one of your facts, that, according to the story put forward by Henry VII., the bodies of the little princes were taken up from the place of hasty interment and placed in consecrated ground. But lo! they remained under the staircase, where they were found in Charles II.'s reign.'

In consequence of Sir A. Milman's letter I made another close scrutiny of dates given by various authorities for the same events with important results. I also went very carefully over the ground of the battlefields of Wakefield, Towton, Barnet, Tewkesbury, and Bosworth; and I added some chapters to the work.

The correspondence to which I have referred has led me to the conclusion that students of history are not, as I once believed, unwilling to reconsider the questions which form the subject of the present work, when they are presented from new points of view; and that the well-known arguments which were supposed to suffice for the defence of the Tudor stories in the past are in these days insufficient. The numerous points now raised and submitted for the judgment of students are at all events worth discussing. The present work is about as complete as very frequent revision can make it.

[1] She pointed out that the titles of Norfolk and Nottingham, granted by Edward IV. to his second son Richard, were given by Richard III. to Lords Howard and Berkeley, and that, therefore, young Richard must have been dead. The answer is that the grants to Lords Howard and Berkeley were made on June 28, 1483, before it was even pretended that young Richard had been murdered.

CONTENTS

 

PAGE

 

PREFACE

 

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v

 

PART I

 
 

CHAPTER I BIRTH AND CHILDHOOD

 
 

Description of Fotheringhay

 

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1 Possessions of the Duke of York. Marriage

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Birth of

 

Richard

 

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and Edmund to their father

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Richard a

prisoner of war

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Letter of Edward .

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Children of the Duke of York

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CHAPTER II

DEATH OF RICHARD'S FATHER AND BROTHER AT THE BATTLE OF WAKEFIELD

The Duke of York declared Heir-Apparent

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March to Sandal

Death of Edmund, Earl

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of

Rutland

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12, 13

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9 The Duke and his family united at Baynard's

11 Description of .

Cruelty and inhuman folly of the

George

Castle .

Sandal Castle and its neighbourhood

14, 15

. and Richard sent to Holland for safety

Lancastrians

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. Battle of Wakefield. .

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Death of the Duke

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Edward's victory at Mortimer's Cross

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CHAPTER III

THE CROWNING VICTORY OF TOWTON

Description of Edward IV.

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leaders

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Edward proclaimed King .

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March to the north. .

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Yorkist leaders

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23 Lancastrian .

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26 Surprise at Ferrybridge

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27 Chase and death of Clifford

 

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28 Yorkists

march to

Saxton

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29, 30 Marshalling of the Lancastrians

 

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Battle of Towton

 

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32, 33

 

Flight of Henry and his

partisans.

Edward's generous treatment of his foes

Edward at York

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Coronation of

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Edward

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CHAPTER IV

THE CROWN LOST AND WON--BATTLE OF BARNET

 

Return of George and Richard from Holland

 

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38 Their Dukedoms, Earldoms and Richard's

K.G.

 

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38 Richard chief mourner at his father's obsequies

 

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39 Military

training under Warwick

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Description of Richard

 

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Treason of

 

Warwick

 

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41 Flight of Edward and Richard to

Holland.

 

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42, 43

 

Expedition

 

fitted out at

 

Veere .

 

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44 Landing

at Ravenspur

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46, 47 Richard's negotiation with Clarence

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Edward's brilliant campaign

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48

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49, 52

 
 

CHAPTER V

 
 

MARGARET OF ANJOU AND HER SON EDWARD

 
 

Birth

and marriage

 

of

Margaret

 

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53, 54

 

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55

Home at Koeur-la-Petite

Adventures in the wars

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Birth of Edward .

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56, 59

60 Edward's conversations with the Chief

Justice

 

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61, 66 Agreement with Warwick

 

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67 Description of

young Edward

 

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68

CHAPTER VI

THE BATTLE OF TEWKESBURY

Margaret and Edward land at Weymouth

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Battle of Tewkesbury

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battle field

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Advance to Bristol .

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74, 75

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Death of Edward of Lancaster on the

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King Edward's plan of campaign

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72

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March of King Edward's army

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battle field

 

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Execution of some leaders

 

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Pardon of

the rest .

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Death

of Henry

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78

Ransom of Margaret.

 

Her death

 

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79

 

CHAPTER VII

MARRIED LIFE AND PUBLIC SERVICES OF RICHARD DUKE OF GLOUCESTER

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Richard's march to Sandwich

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81, 82

Richard with his brother in France

80 Marriage of Richard and Anne Nevill 82 Description of

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Middleham Castle

 

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83

Home

life

at

Middleham

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82,

83, 84

campaign

Public duties.

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Frequent visits to York

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. Death of Edward IV. Lady Grey. Children

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84

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Warden of the Marches.

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86, 87

Scottish

Conspiracy of

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Woodvilles .

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CHAPTER VIII

ACCESSION OF RICHARD III

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88 Richard made Protector by his brother's

will .

sanctuary .

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89 Arrest of Rivers and his colleagues

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91

. Richard and his mother

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Disclosure of Bishop Stillington

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90 Queen Dowager in .

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Account of Bishop Stillington

 

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94-95

Foundation of the College at Acaster

 

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96 Children of Edward IV. illegitimate

 

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97 Hastings-Woodville

conspiracy

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98, 99

 

Execution of Rivers and his colleagues

 

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100

Richard's title to the crown

 

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101

Accession

 

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102

 
 

CHAPTER IX

 
 

CONDITION OF THE PEOPLE

 
 

Results of the Lancastrian usurpation

 

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103

Effects of the Wars of the Roses

 

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life

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the Court

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104

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No destruction

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of the nobility .

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106

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Castles

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108

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105 Scenery. Country .

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The Peerage

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City Companies

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110 Magnificence of .

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113

Caxton's works

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Hunting and hawking

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112

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Introduction of

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. . Wealth of merchants. .

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Town residences

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printing .

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114, 115

 

. Literary noblemen

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115,

116

 

Education

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118-119

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Lawlessness

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117 Bishops. Clergy. Monasteries. Pilgrimages

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Cultivation .

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Prices

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121 Condition of the people

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123

 

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120 Manor houses. .

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CHAPTER X

REIGN OF RICHARD III

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Description of the King

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125

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Coronation

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124

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Treatment of his nephews .

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126-127

 

Claim of

Buckingham

 

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128

 

Royal

 

Progress

 

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. 129-130 Rebellion of Buckingham

 

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131-132

 

List of

traitors .

 

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132-133

 

Parliament

 

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134 Reforms.

Agreement with the Queen Dowager

 

Revenue.

 

Navy .

136

 

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Death of the Prince of Wales.

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His tomb

135 Convocation. .

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137 Edward Earl of Warwick made Heir-Apparent

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138 King Richard's popularity

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139

Conspiracy of Henry Tudor

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140

The King

assembled troops at Nottingham

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143

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Peerage of Richard III.

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144

and Law Officers

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146 Knights of the Garter

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141

Proclamation against Henry Tudor

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Commissioners for Peace with Scotland

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145

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Bishops

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143 Ministers of Richard III.

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146

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. 145 Judges . Knights of the Bath

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147

 

CHAPTER XI

 
 

THE BATTLE OF BOSWORTH

 
 

Treachery of the Stanleys explained

 

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148, 149

 

King Richard's military talent

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150

 

English pluck displayed by Richard

 

150 Loyal men flocking

to the King's standard

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151 Description of the country round Bosworth

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152

Positions of the two armies

 

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153

King Richard leads his men to the

encounter

gallant charge

155-156-157 Richard buried at Leicester.

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154 Treachery of Lord Stanley

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. Death of the King .

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